Match was tribute to Gary Speed, says Swansea's Neil Taylor

Neil Taylor
Taylor has won eight senior caps for Wales

Neil Taylor says he feels the decision to go ahead with Swansea's match against Aston Villa was the right decision - despite Gary Speed's death.

The death of Wales manager Speed at the age of 42 was confirmed only hours before the Premier League match.

Welshmen Taylor, Ashley Williams and Joe Allen were all in Swansea's side, with James Collins starting for Villa.

"We definitely wanted to play to make sure we paid our respects. He was a great football man," Taylor said.

The two sides played out a 0-0 draw on a sombre afternoon at the Liberty Stadium.

And Taylor, 22, added: "I don't think it had sunk in by the time kick-off came. Playing the game is mostly what us Welsh lads wanted to do.

"You don't know how to really take it but having a game was the best way of paying respects to him and play the game he loved so much.

"I know Gary admired the way we played at Swansea - and we wanted to do him justice and play as well as we could.

"He was definitely a great manager and was going to do great things for Wales.

"It's sad circumstances and our thoughts are with his family."

Taylor won his first cap as a substitute against Croatia in May 2010 during John Toshack's reign, but it was Speed who handed him his first start against Scotland in May.

The ex-Wrexham player established himself as first-choice left-back in the latter part of the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, with Wales winning three of their last four games.

And Taylor says he will be grateful for Speed's role in his development as a player.

He added: "He was a great man-manager. He was great with lads individually and it was there for everybody to see what he was doing on the pitch for Wales.

"He had great knowledge of the game. He was still only playing a few years ago [and] he still kept himself fit.

"He showed a lot of belief in us. He chucked young lads in when he was coming into the job and he was happy to play us on merit.

"It took him time to implement what he wanted but he was great for my career."

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